Talking Points

Talking Points

Acne update

November 9, 2017 at 4:25 pm

New advice for treating acne



Acne is very common particularly among teenagers and young adults. However it can affect any age group.


It is important that acne is treated effectively and early to reduce the risk of scarring. The mainstay of treatment has included topical and oral antibiotics and these preparations are often used over prolonged periods such as a year or more.


New guidelines have taken account of concerns about the emergence of strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. These strains arise because of the overuse of antibiotics for general conditions such as upper respiratory tract infections. It is only recently that concerns have been raised about the long-term use of antibiotics in acne and in retrospect it seems strange that it has taken so long for this advice to be highlighted. In particular topical erythromycin causes resistant strains of Staph Aureus to appear.


Current guidelines now say that oral antibiotics should be used for 3 months only. They should never be combined with topical antibiotics, but instead should be used in combination with a retinoid or benzoyl peroxide. This inevitably necessitates the earlier referral to a dermatologist and introduction of Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) when antibiotics fail. As these are very effective and safe drugs there should be fewer people left with significant acne scarring in the future.


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